Here's a few ideas I've come up with for mind-blowing, ethical safaris based on my work and travels in Africa, but there are many, many more options out there, so get in touch with me so I can customise a safari that's perfect for you or visit Matson & Ridley Safaris at http://www.matsonridley.com.
Twice a year I personally lead safaris a few specially selected parts of Africa. Keep an eye on my blog for details as spots are limited to 10-12 people.
Matson and Ridley Pte Ltd is an ACRA Registered company Number 201325069G (Singapore Tourism Board Travel Agency Licence Number 10177).
1. Jewel of Africa – Okavango Delta, Botswana
Discover what is truly the jewel in the crown of African safaris by exploring Botswana’s extraordinary Okavango Delta. Explore the marshlands, waterways and Kalahari desert habitats in exclusive wilderness areas in your comfortable open game viewing vehicle, or take a serene ride in a makoro (wooden dugout canoe). Wildlife is abundant here and it's amazing how close you can get to the animals without affecting their behaviour. Botswana is a safe and relatively prosperous country by African standards and many local communities benefit from brilliant partnerships with luxury, eco-friendly lodges. A safari in Botswana is the ultimate splurge for you and your loved one! Don't rule out going in the green season when prices are lower and you get to see all the baby animals and amazing thunderstorms.
2. Desert Dreaming – Best of Namibia
Namibia was my home for 6 years and it still has a special place in my heart. This is where I did my PhD on the threatened black-faced impala and later worked on human-elephant conflict. There are a few must sees in Namibia - the famous orange desert dunes, Etosha with its vast pan and multitudinous animals, and Damaraland, home of desert elephants. I'll tailor make a safari for you, making sure that some of your tourism dollars makes a difference to local people and wildlife. There are great cultural opportunities in Namibia too, as it's home to 11 different ethnic groups, including the traditional ovaHimba people. If you can include it, I strongly recommend a visit to Serra Cafema, Africa's most remote camp and my favourite in Namibia.
3. Elephant Dance – Best of Kenya
Experience Kenya in the best way possible, by seeing the most amazing wildlife areas it has to offer in the loveliest of safari camps, while supporting local companies that are truly making a difference in elephant conservation. Every visit should include a visit to the famous elephant orphanage established by Dame Daphne Sheldrick and an up close and personal encounter with their baby elephants. Other places I recommend are Amboseli National Park, the famous elephant reserve in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, the Maasai Mara, known for the awe-inspiring great wildebeest migration and Lake Nakuru for flamingos. Then if you haven't had your fill of amazing wildlife, skip over the border to Tanzania for the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater!
4. Best of South Africa Safari
South Africa provides the perfect first safari for those wanting a combination of extraordinary wildlife in a private game reserve bordering the famous Kruger National Park where you have an excellent chance to see the 'big 5' (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and hippo). A trip to South Africa wouldn't be complete without seeing South Africa’s rugged southern cape, Cape Town, and its amazing marine world. I recommend a visit to Robben Island while you're in Capetown, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, and of course make the most of the beautiful region's mountains and wineries.
5. Family Safaris
I know from experience that families have different needs to the average safari go-er. Since having a family, I’ve been actively looking for places in Africa that really excel at the whole family safari experience. And I’ve found some crackers in South Africa and Kenya! Your kids will have the time of their lives learning how to track animals from local trackers and guides, learning the names of the local animals and plants, going on game drives and swimming in the pool. For parents who are desperate for a break, these properties provide high quality baby sitters and the safety of your kids is assured so that you can make the most of that massage!